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Quality of Life & Gun Ownership

ExurbanKevin has a story out of north central Massachusetts that highlights the issues with may issue concealed carry laws. The Fitchburg, MA police chief takes pride in the fact that he denies carry permits to about 90% of new applicants. To those 90%, he adds the restriction that they may only use their firearms for hunting and target practice.

What’s interesting about the story that isn’t explicitly stated is that the other town he mentions, Leominster, will issue a concealed carry license without restriction to new applicants, or at least they would 10 years ago. I know because I got mine through Leominster.

In fact, due to the Massachusetts gun laws, I couldn’t look for housing after I graduated college like most recent grads–finding the cheapest place with the fewest possible roommates in the neighborhood least likely to result in a stolen or damaged car.

My first step was drawing a circle around the city in which I would be working to encompass any city within reasonable driving distance where the gas wouldn’t make me go broke before I even took home a paycheck. Then, I checked with the local gun community about all the cities within that circle. The cheapest and closest apartments I could find were in a city that refused to issue concealed carry licenses. That was off the list. Eventually, after taking several other options off the list either due to the unknown issuing policies or because it was widely known they add restrictions to licenses, I found a place that I could just barely afford in Leominster.

I admit that I really liked Leominster. My apartment wasn’t in the greatest of neighborhoods, but the crime rate was sure as hell better than the neighboring Fitchburg (which does not issue for carry, and, according to what I’d heard, did not issue then, either). It was a cute apartment; my car remained safe, as did my boyfriend’s when he came to visit. The times I did have a scare–when there was a domestic dispute involving some death threats outside my bedroom windows and when maintenance accidentally left my door partially open after fixing the a/c–I didn’t have to worry about restrictions on my license getting me into trouble. I could grab my gun out of my purse and have it ready if needed. As a woman living alone in an area where family was a good 14 hours away, a boyfriend who lived about 4 hours away, and my closest good friends were back in Western Massachusetts a good hour or more away, I appreciated the fact that I had a tool to defend myself if needed.

But the fact remains that I had to spend substantially more money in rent and living expenses in order to have that peace of mind. That single decision by the police department to issue or deny my right to self-defense changed the entire equation about my lifestyle choices. At least I had the economic freedom to have a little wiggle room that would allow me to choose a jurisdiction that recognized self-defense. For those less fortunate, they still don’t have those options, and that’s a problem we need fix.

7 Responses to “Quality of Life & Gun Ownership”

  1. terraformer says:

    We are working on this. You would be amazed at how difficult this licensing scheme is proving to get rid of. It’s labyrinth of options has already caused one case to get dismissed without a ruling on the merits.
    http://www.comm2a.org/index.php/41-projects/current-projects/102-davis

  2. McThag says:

    I’ve turned down jobs in places where I couldn’t own my gun, let alone carry it.

  3. NUGUN Blog says:

    I DJ’d and did lighting a couple times up in Leominster many years ago.

    :-)

  4. Be glad that you lived in a place as pro-gun as Massachusetts! Try that in California, and you would have to draw a circle larger than the entire state of Taxachusetts.

  5. Andy says:

    I wondering the more pro-2a environment in Leominster contributed to its market value (and, thus, relatively higher housing costs).

  6. Thomas says:

    It is sad that they are able to refuse so many request.

  7. AndyN says:

    The cheapest and closest apartments I could find were in a city that refused to issue concealed carry licenses.

    Knowing your victims are unarmed makes a community more attractive to criminals. Crime drives down property values. Decreased property values mean lower rent.

    The only question is whether the cops in those towns are too stupid to realize what they’re doing, or they know they have the ability to create an environment in which they’ll be able to put a higher price tag on their services.

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